Saturday, December 30, 2006

HAPPY TRUE FANTASY 2007

With these words sung by my Tarja Turunen of Nightwish fame I want to wish a very happy new year to everyone reading this. I hope to see many of you in Helsinki in May and let's make fantasy come true together! xxx

Tarja Turunen Henkays Ikuisuudesta Commercial

Monday, December 25, 2006

*It Snows In Hell* - Lordi

When Albania got it right

Here's a girl that would be a world star if she came from anywhere else but Albania. She surely won me over in Istanbul. She really had presence on stage one could feel even where I was sitting and waving the Albanian flag like a madman. It was also touching to see the huge number of Albanians in the semifinal - I was practically surrounded by them - who were all gone in the final. They didn't believe they would reach the final or couldn't afford the tickets or get them anymore. So, the aforementioned flag I was waving was given to me by a lovely Albanian woman after the semifinal when I told her I was from non qualifying Finland "Aww honey, take my flag and wave it for me then!" I want Anjeza back!

Anjeza Shahini - Image of You

The stone ballad for Albania


Albania has chosen. The country that usually starts the season managed only being the second song chosen and only the sixth artist known. It doesn't look very promising for them this year either. "Balada e gurit" or "The stone ballad" is a heavily ethnic sounding piece without much of a hook, sung by Aida & Frederik Ndoci (does Aida the woman sound like she's in pain in it?). Albania started its Eurovision adventures with a bang in 2004 and it has been going downhill ever since....

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Artist number 5 out, Kenan!


And so we thought Albania would be once again the very first selecting its next Eurovision artist and/or song. Boy were we wrong! While the Albanian festival is being prepared Turkey came out with Kenan Dogulu, apparently a megastar in his homeland and who is eyeing the international market. Kenan, 32 from Istanbul, released his first album in 1993 and this summer his latest and 10th album "Festival" was released. Often compared to Tarkan or Mustafa Sandal - I'd love to see Musti in Eurovision! - he declares he has his own style and seems to be a rather professional musician and guitar player besides being a singer.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Lordi and Finnish Post







A must for all Lordi fans: Lordi boxes to mail gifts to friends! Available only at Finnish Post offices. They also sell a special Christmas cards: Lordi's latest single "It snows in hell" , comes with a Christmas card and envelope! Merry Christmas week everyone!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Lordi's Rocktaurant


Lordi's restaurant, or Rocktaurant, finally opened in Rovaniemi on December 15. The two-floor restaurant plays 80's pantyhose heavy and other melodic heavy rock. The theme is a horror castle upstairs and downstairs the bar is as dark as hell and off limits to kids. Other decoration items include Mr Lordi's previous outfit, baby dolls burned in their concerts and the hats Mr Lordi used in Athens. The downstairs bar is decorated in Hard Rock Café style: Lordi's and Kiss' memorabilia mostly but also from other Finnish bands Lordi likes.

Thousands of people attended the opening, including Santa Claus and the mayor of Rovaniemi. Fireworks and Lordi style pyros were icing on the cake. If Rocktaurant proves a success it might become a chain....

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Welcome back, Edsilia!


After a good start to the season (Moldova's entry that is), another item of great news was revealed today: Edsilia Rombley will return to Eurovision representing the Netherlands again. Her 1998 entry "Hemel en aarde" scored the best result for the Dutch since their last victory in 1975, coming 4th. It's also one of my favourite entries of all time. She's got a wonderful voice and looks good on stage. Hopefully her song will be equally good or better this second time around! The entry will be chosen by televote amongst a few presented in February. And there is even a chance she will sing them all in Dutch!

Friday, December 15, 2006

DJ Bobo,Natalia and Sopho join Dervish




So, it's going to be rather famous DJ Bobo for Switzerland (for once the rumours turned out true), Sopho Khalvashi for Georgia and Natalia Bardu for Moldova.
Natalia seems to be some sort of sex symbol in her Moldova and indeed looks rather foxy in the pics. The song is a good one, too, at least judging by the poor quality file I've heard so far. Her main problem at the moment seems to be finding the money to travel and stay in Helsinki. That girl needs a sponsor badly! Her win was a convincing one; she got top marks from 7 of the 8 jurors and left Eurovision veterans Zdob si Zdub in second place. Soon after we read the news their song was actually breaking the rules for having been performed publicly way too early for the EBU's deadline!
DJ Bobo needs no introduction, at least in Scandinavia and German-speaking Europe. Swizz TV picked up his song from more than 60 songs but we won't hear it until January when it will be officially presented to eager fans.
Georgia will début in the Eurovision with Sopho Khalvashi, who will sing 5 songs in the national final in February. She's another exotic looking vixen from the "east" of Europe...

Make it 42!

There will be 42 countries in Helsinki, a new record even if Monaco drops out at the last minute. They're not claiming the usual "financial problems" like many others before, but state clearly that their three years in contest hasn't given them the desired results.
In 2004, when Monaco returned after an absence of 25 years, they gained only the 20th place in the semifinal. Next year it got worse, only 24th in the semifinal and last year 21st in the semifinal. Maybe they should have hired some famous or semi-famous French girl to do the job like in the good old days instead of young inexperienced yet cute girls with rather lame songs? (Me thinks)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Katri Helena re-releases Christmas album




Katri Helena has re-released by public demand her 1996 Christmas album "Hiljaisuudessa" with three new recordings: "The Little Drummer Boy" as featured in her Christmas concerts this year, late Gösta Sundqvist's "Kai vielä jossain on Joulu" and Carola's "Himmlen in min famn" in Finnish. Katri Helena has been touring with her Christmas concert tour the past month and next we will see her for sure in the great Eurovision 1961-2006 Gala Concert in Espoo, February 8, 2007.

Top-40 round up


While the singers in countries like Switzerland and Moldova are being selected I will put the things in order of importance and have a little round up about what's happening in the Finnish Top-40 in week 50.

Vesa-Matti Loiri (ESC 80) remains at Number One with his album "Ivalo" and has already sold gold. Tarja Turunen's (ex-Nightwish) first solo/Christmas album holds its post at Number 2 and is also certified gold. Ratzz covering "Hard Rock Hallelujah" drops one place to Number 8 with their "Hard Ratzz Hallelujah". Also Rajaton drops one place to Number 10 with their "Sings ABBA with Lahti Symphony Orchestra". However, they just collected a platinum disc for it. ABBA itself drops to number 20 with their "Number Ones".

Lordi leaves the Top-20 dropping to Number 22 but they have sold over 90.000 albums, entering the all time top-60 best selling albums ever in Finland with it, got triple platinum for it, and are enjoying their 42nd week in the charts besides being officially the best selling album in 2006 in Finland - and they also enter the singles Top-10 with their third single from Arockalypse "It snows in hell" at number 2!!

Also the Eurovision hopefuls Jann Wilde & Rose Avenue stay in single's Top-10 for the 4th week with their "Boys out of New York" at number 6 this week. Other Eurovision hopefuls Beats and Styles enter the Top-10 with "Ocean wave" at Number 7.

And in time for Christmas also the list of most played songs on Finnish radio during Christmas time 2005 has been released. Wham's "Last Christmas" tops the list once again, being followed by Antti Tuisku's "Lämmin lumi peittää maan", Katri Helena's "Joulumaa", Vesa-Matti Loiri's "Sydämeeni Joulun teen" and John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is over)".

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

One million phonecalls


So we all know now that the final tickets sold out in 3 to 20 minutes, depending on the selling point. The packages including the final were gone in less than 3 hours. By Monday semifinal and its packages were sold and on Tuesday when internet sales started only seats on various semifinal rehearsals were left.... 70.000 tickets and over a million phone calls, half of them within the first hour (Sunday noon-1pm) and the Finnish telephone system didn't collapse. Thank you Nokia! (Well, not that they have directly nothing to do with it, but....) And of course, as early as Sunday afternoon the first tickets appeared on Huuto.net in on line auction....

Anyway, now I am even happier about my tickets, realizing I have been extremely lucky indeed. And today I went to Stockmann's Lippupalvelu and got a cool ticket holder, too - no-one remembered such a thing in Sunday's frenzy! The lady behind the desk was soooo nice and genuinely happy for me that I managed to get the tickets. She was still rather shocked by the assault two days earlier....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

13 minutes!







That's how long it took to sell out the final! In less than three hours even the packages including the final and costing 390 euros were all gone. Apparently all but the semifinal were sold out today which proves there are people willing to pay almost anything to see Eurovision live. It also proves no matter what the organizer does, or who sells the tickets, there are never enough and fans left without tickets blame everything and anything. If I didn't get tickets I would have been surely very disappointed, but it wouldn't make me post nasty comments on YLE or EBU or Finland and Finns in general in every forum and message board available. After all, there are only 70.000 tickets available in 8 events, and probably twice, or even 3-4 times more willing fans to get them. Mathematics is science, not a matter of opinion.
Anyway, I'm happy I made my clever move and didn't go to Stockmann's or BioRex to get my tickets as there seems to have been a real hassle. I went to to Sello instead and arrived there at 11.15 and there were already some 30 people in a nice, neat, proper line (thank you Finns! I love your proper lines!). By noon there was a line of 50 meters behind me....
All went pretty smoothly. The operators printed out tickets like madmen until they didn't get anymore after ten minutes. By 12.13 they shouted the final tickets were gone and the last one went to a guy in front of me. So I had to get the final package at 390 euros.
In less than 3 hours even those were gone but apparently some semifinal tickets are left for the internet selling on December 12....
By 6pm the first tickets appeared on Huuto.net (the Finnish version of eBay) ...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lordi didn't show up. Or did they?

The president's independence day reception's most awaited guests in the end didn't show up. At some point of the evening the TV-commentators said they just heard that two, maybe three Lordi members would be in after all - only that no-one knew them without their masks on. They tried their best to track down the nearly 1900 persons the poor president and her husband had to welcome one by one to the reception, but they managed only to name maybe 1/4 of the guests, so in theory it is possible.... No Lordi in sight, the floor was free and flashes going wild at other less significant people in the house : Kaija Koo, Antti Tuisku, Ville Valo of HIM and comedian Krisse, self proclaimed princess of any situation.

UPDATE 7.12.2006

Well, it remains a mystery. "Mrs Lordi" was spotted and photographed in the reception but she refused to comment on whether any Lordi members had arrived incognito. Iltalehti and Ilta-Sanomat both seem to have their own opinion on the matter: one telling the same news as on TV that at least two members (Kita and Ox) had arrived after all ; the other claims none of the members had. It proves only they didn't manage to solve the mystery. Only president Tarja Halonen and her staff know the truth and they aren't telling.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Best of Euroviisut Mega Concert


Over 20 past Finnish Euroviisut singers will gather together in Espoo's Länsiauto Areena on February 8, 2007 to perform live over 40 songs. The Finnish representatives Marion (1962, 1973), Viktor Klimenko (1965), Fredi (1966, 1976), Jarkko ja Laura (1968), Markku Aro (1971), Katri Helena (1979, 1993), Kojo (1982), Ami Aspelund (1983), Kirka (1984), Sonja Lumme (1985), Anneli Saaristo (1989), CatCat (1994) and Laura Voutilainen (2002) will be there as well as familiar names from the past Finnish selections who have scored a huge hit without winning : Lea Laven, Frederik, Pepe Willberg, Tapani Kansa and Kim Lönnholm. More names are likely to be added to the list.

Tickets for fans outrage

YLE has announced the specially priced tickets for fans sold through fan organisations like OGAE. Only one package is available containing 8 tickets for rehearsals and both the semifinal and final. The price is 425 euros. At the same moment the number of these tickets was reduced from 700 to 550 (excluding OGAE Finland). In addition, the seating plan for Hartwall Areena was finally published. All this has caused outrage, and not only in the fan community. Apparently no one is happy about this and probably many of those who could get their tickets through OGAE or other fan organisations will not buy them but will try and get a ticket from the ticket offices on Sunday, causing even greater chaos there. Or will there be chaos after all? Most people consider the price too high anyway and in the worse case we will have the hall sold out but with empty seats as big corporations and companies will buy tickets and give them to their staff and clients who may not be the least bit interested in going there.
Some fans have also withdrawn their applications as volunteers in protest... We just have to wait and see how this all ends up...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Trio got the gig of their lifetime


Dog Design will create the Eurovision 2007 visual image.

"This is surely the biggest project we've got so far and surely the most visible" says Ilona Ilottu. She is as confused but happy as her team mates Eeva Sivula and Petri Salmela for the opportunity given by YLE and EBU. They will create the visual image used in logos and all printed matter, so their work will be seen all over town, but less in TV. "Just to make it clear we are not responsible for the stage or choreography or script or whatever!" The theme chosen by YLE is "True Fantasy" as we all know by now and Dog Design's idea is built around kaleidoscope, how to turn fantasy into reality.
These young designers (35-39 years old) studied graphics together in Helsinki's University of Arts and Design. They started collaborating already back then, during the depression years in Finland in the early 1990's. "We felt we had to work while studying to be able to get a job later on, we did it almost for free" and they all worked in different magazines. They have been a success as a trio, winning several awards and honorable mentions. Today one third of their job is designing book covers and other packaging. They also design products for companies, graphics for exhibitions, stamps and logos. "Working as a trio works fine with us. It's faster and easier. We are three different persons with different tastes but if we all agree on something it's usually fine with others, too. And we do disagree as well!" More details on the visual image of Eurovision 2007 will be revealed in January.

Anna tops the rumour chart, claims HS


Helsingin Sanomat is being very Eurovision friendly today. Three Eurovision related articles and a full page! One is a review of Tim Moore's book "Nul points", a very favorable one I might add, the other is about Dog Design and then there's this bit of rumour or speculation of Anna Sorainen being the host of Eurovision 2007. Fact one is she announced last week she won't be doing her talk show in 2007 anymore. Fact two is her co-host in the talk show is Harkimo, the owner of Hartwall Areena. Fact three is that she speaks fluent French and English. On top of that she has been taking care of Formula One driver Kimi Räikkönen's PR and runs an advertising company. She's pretty enough, has charisma and skills. She won't comment. YLE won't either. Well, we will find out soon....

ESC2007 Visual Designers speak out: Meet dog design

A young trio will create the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest visual image based on kaleidoscopic images how fantasy becomes reality. It’s going to be colourful, functional, beautiful and minimalistic. dog design tell about themselves and the project.
"This is surely the biggest project we've got so far, and surely the most visible" says Ilona Ilottu. She is as confused and happy as her team mates Eeva Sivula and Petri Salmela for the opportunity given by YLE and EBU.
They will create the visual image used in logos and all printed matter so their work will be seen all over the Hartwall Areena and city. "Just to make it clear we are not responsable for the stage or choreography or script! Our work will be seen in even unexpected, surprising places all over the Helsinki region" they promise.
The theme chosen by YLE is "True Fantasy" as we all know by now, and dog design's idea is built around kaleidoscope, how to turn fantasy into reality.  These young designers (aged 35-39) studied graphics together in Helsinki University of Arts and Design. They started collaborating already back then, during the depression years in Finland in the early 1990s. "We felt we had to work while studying to be able to get a job after studies and we did it almost for free. We all worked in different magazines. Officially dog design was founded in 1998. We have been lucky to have meaningful work all the time. We could have risked more economically and expand the firm but we like it this way. We enjoy our work and working together. Most of the time it doesn't even feel like work!" they tell.
Dog design has been very succesful winning many awards and honorable mentions.Today one third of their work is designing book covers and packaging. They also design products for companies, exhibition posters, logos and stamps. "Working as a trio is fine with us. We are three different persons with different tastes. If we all like an idea it usually is fine with others, too. Working together is faster, more creative. We discuss a lot about our ideas and it usually leads to new ideas. Of course sometimes you might be a bit hurt if your great idea isn't such a great idea by the others, but you just have to be more objective and accept the opinions of the others". More details on dog design's kaleidoscopic visual on Eurovision Song Contest 2007 will be presented in January. (Original release esctoday.com)

Finnish artists preparing


Let's see a bit about what the Finnish artists are doing these days while preparing for Euroviisut 2007. Beats and Styles released a new single "Ocean wave" on November 29. It features once again Michael Monroe in vocals (of Hanoi Rocks fame) and the new video is online in their web site. Check it out! The rumour is that they're also writing the songs for Humane....
Jann Wilde & Rose Avenue, fresh from their tour of Switzerland, Austria and Germany, entered the Finnish charts at no. 3 with their single "Boys out of New York".
Laura Voutilainen is doing her floor show "DivaDive!" in Helsinki Grand Casino until Christmas to sold out audiences. The song includes the songs of Ella Fitzgerald, Lisa Minnelli, Tina Turner, drag artist and dancers besides Laura's own music. She has told the press her songs for Euroviisut are very different from each other; one is a ballad, the other is not!
Lovex released a limited edition of their album in November. It includes a bonus cd/dvd with mixes, live versions and videos.
Hanna Pakarinen is in the studio recording her third album and seems to be very happy with how the work is progressing and very excited about Euroviisut. The songs are from her new album and not written/produced/arranged specially for Eurovision, just good Hanna songs.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Record breaking 43 countries in Helsinki!


A total of 43 countries have applied to participate in Helsinki. The list is still provisional and the countries will now be informed by the EBU about their fees and they have two weeks to cancel their participation. So, there could be up to 29 countries in the semifinal from which the top 10 qualify to go to the final to join the 14 lucky ones from 2006.

The Czech Republic and Georgia début and Serbia and Montenegro will now have individual entries, while Hungary and Austria return. So the full list looks like this:

ALBANIA, ANDORRA, ARMENIA, AUSTRIA, BELARUS, BELGIUM, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA, BULGARIA, CROATIA, CYPRUS, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, ESTONIA, FINLAND, FRANCE, FYR MACEDONIA, GEORGIA, GERMANY, GREECE, HUNGARY, ICELAND, IRELAND, ISRAEL, LATVIA, LITUANIA, MALTA, MOLDOVA, MONACO, MONTENEGRO, NETHERLANDS, NORWAY, POLAND, PORTUGAL, ROMANIA, RUSSIA, SERBIA, SLOVENIA, SPAIN, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, TURKEY, UKRAINE and UNITED KINGDOM.

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